Monday, 23 February 2009

Week 9 of 2009

I continued working on operations and parameters this week. Creating a clean parameter based interface for Action Language code has required a considerable amount of iteration between modelling and coding. I'm trying to find a balance that results in a clean but simple OOA, Java and XML representation for operations and parameters. If I was generating the Java and XML directly from the OOA using archetypes then this wouldn't be an issue. However, since I'm creating an egg without a chicken at present I have to factor in all three.

I found a nasty J2SE 1.5 bug in GridBagLayout which results in OOA Tool locking up when there are more than 512 rows (see Java Bug ID 5107980). I hit this MAXGRIDSIZE limit when I tried to open a Subsystem editor in the OOA Tool project. The Subsystem editor tries to list all objects and relationships showing which subsystem each is assigned to. The bug is fixed in Java SE 6 (since the limit is removed entirely) but there are no plans to fix the bug in J2SE 1.5. I added a quick workaround which traps the problem but doesn't fix it. Build 014 now shows a blank panel if the limit is exceeded rather than locking up OOA Tool. To fix the problem entirely, I would have to stop using GridBagLayout which I don't want to invest time in at present since the problem is fixed in Java SE 6.

My confidence in J2SE 1.5 took a knock after finding this problem. I've only stayed with this version since the Mac still doesn't fully support Java SE 6 even though J2SE 1.5 is now End of Life. I've now decided to move to Java SE 6 as my default platform while still retaining J2SE 1.5 support for the moment at least. The latest version of Java SE 6 is build 12 which includes the new Nimbus look and feel. It looks better than Metal so I will use this as the standard look and feel from now on (while still allowing users to select their preferred look and feel). There were a few minor display issues when I first switched to Nimbus in OOA Tool but these are fixed in Build 014.

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